NPA ATTACKS MEDINA TOWN HALL AND POLICE STATION

Aug 31, 2011

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ONE policeman died while two others were wounded when around 30 armed men attacked the police station and the municipal hall of Medina in Misamis Oriental Thursday afternoon.

The fatality was identified as Senior Police Officer I (SPO1) Edito Bayhon, a resident of Tup-op, Medina who had served the police force for 25 years.

The wounded policemen were identified as SPO2 Renie Galera Rombo and SPO1 Diosdado Salas Sendiong who are now recuperating in a hospital.

All the victims are members of the Medina Police Station.

At least one member of the New People’s Army (NPA) also reportedly died while several were wounded in the attack.

SPO1 Alvin Tejano, a member of the Medina Police Station, admitted that he shoot the alleged NPA member after seeing that Bayhon was hit.

He said the suspected rebels disembarked from a van and attacked the police station and municipal hall simultaneously.

The rebels reportedly target to hostage Medina Mayor Pacifico Pupos but failed after police fought, wounding several NPA members. Firefight lasted for an hour.

The NPA rebels later fled, bringing with them cellphones and laptops they found at the mayor’s office.

Pupos denied, however, that he was the main target of the armed group.

In a television interview, the mayor admitted that the armed men went to his office before they sprayed bullets at the police station.

“I was there at the office talking with my two barangay captains and a municipal councilor. In my investigation, the armed men’s intention was only to get some office equipment. They asked my staff if I was there at the office and immediately left. I believed 90 percent they were members of the NPA,” he said, adding he did not really know what the rebels’ intention was.

On Friday, Pupos said it’s “business as usual” at the town.

Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar S. Moreno condemned the attack.

“The attack had placed in jeopardy the progress that Misamis Oriental has attained through hard work and cooperation of the people, which is to bring the government closer to the people,” Moreno said in a statement.

Because of the incident, Moreno ordered the province’s law enforcement agencies to conduct a thorough and deep investigation to find out who are responsible for the attack and their motives.

Moreno said the police and military will conduct a vigorous pursuit operation without let-up in order to uphold the law and bring the perpetrators to the court of law.

“But I congratulated the law enforcement agencies for their prompt reaction and their show of gallantry to protect and defend the people of Medina. I salute SPO1 Bayhon, as well as the two wounded policemen for their splendid valiance and deep and affectionate love for our government and our people,” Moreno said.

The governor also commended Pupos for his presence of mind and bravery in standing firm in defense of the people.

“The province of Misamis Oriental will not stop in bringing the government closer to the people as best as we can and as closest as we can. The Provincial Government reiterates our firm conviction that the law should stand supreme over everyone,” Moreno said. (Nicole J. Managbanag/Loui S. Maliza)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 27, 2011.

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